Major League Baseball is threatening to suspend players and staff members for the remainder of the season for repeated or flagrant violations of the league’s coronavirus protocols, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported Wednesday.
Nightengale obtained a six-page memo sent to all 30 clubs on Wednesday highlighting the league’s increased urgency in containing the spread of COVID-19 following outbreaks on the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals.
The memo also reportedly details several revised protocol measures and confirms officials will be hired to monitor clubhouses and team hotels to assure there are no violations.
“Everyone must be accountable for their own conduct because the careless or reckless actions of a few can impact the health and well-being of everyone,’’ the league wrote in the memo, according to USA Today.
“Any covered individuals — whether players or club staff — who are found to have repeatedly or flagrantly violated the protocols, including refusing to wear a face covering when required and reminded to do so,’’ the memo reads, “risks being prohibited from further participation in the 2020 season and postseason (in the case of players, subject to the just cause provisions in the Basic Agreement). The Commissioner’s Office will send written warnings prior to any such action being taken.’’
Here are some of the notable revisions included in the memo.
Players and staff wear face coverings at all times, including the dugout and clubhouse, with the exception of players on the field. This includes all coaches on the field, and every member of the umpiring crew.
The same individuals must also wear face coverings at all times in the hotel and at public places on the road.
Clubs now are required to reduce the size of their traveling parties to only personnel who are absolutely essential to playing games.
Staff and players are strictly prohibited from meeting in hotel rooms while on the road and may not gather in any public areas outside of the hotel without permission from the team’s compliance officer.
Any player or staff member must notify their compliance officer if they intend to leave the hotel on the road.
All clubs now are required to provide outdoor, covered spaces for all visiting players and staff members to sit.
Players and staff members who have been ordered to quarantine or isolate on the road may not leave their hotel rooms under any circumstance.
It’s reported MLB and the MLBPA are in agreement on the changes and all revisions will go into effect on Thursday.
MLB and the MLBPA have agreed to changes to the operations manual. Starting tomorrow, staff and players must wear face coverings over their nose/mouth at all times and in all places in the stadium except for players on the field. This includes the dugout and bullpen. Everywhere.— Jared Diamond (@jareddiamond) August 6, 2020
On Wednesday, commissioner Rob Manfred said he felt the players were doing a good job adhering to the league’s coronavirus protocols. Those words came less than one week after Manfred suggested the season could be shut down this week if the league and players couldn’t get a handle on the virus.
Honestly, it’s difficult to get a read on where Manfred is coming from on a given day, but the reported memo doesn’t seem to line up with his recent thoughts.
Whatever the case, the league is already facing an uphill battle against the virus and against the clock. There were 33 games postponed last week alone with many of those being directly related to COVID-19. In order to complete the season, the league will need everyone to follow the protocols, and will probably need some luck as well.
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